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Tibet-Poland-2013Warsaw, Poland, 24 October 2013 – The Rector of the University of Warsaw received His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning for his first meeting with a group of Polish Members of Parliament. His Holiness spotted and fondly embraced his old friend Heinrich Wujec before members of the group were introduced by Hon. Beata Bublewicz.

His Holiness began by joking that Poles were as familiar as Tibetans with the drawbacks of Communist domination. He likened the situation to one in which an uninvited guest has arrived with a gun and proceeded to take full control. However, he said, the power of truth will prevail over the power of the gun and he noted that the Tibetan spirit is now stronger than ever.

He also pointed out that Tibet's independence during the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries has now disappeared and that the Chinese constitution now provided for regional, prefectural and county autonomy. Tibetans should be able to exercise those rights, he continued, and be able to preserve and maintain their language, culture and religion and protect their fragile environment.

China, he said, is the most populous nation but the 1.3 billion Chinese people have a right to know what is going on and are quite capable of judging right from wrong. Perhaps Polish parliamentarians could wield some influence as a newly democratic country, he wondered, and gently point out the benefits of being open.

"Treating the Tibetan people with respect," His Holiness said, "respecting their identity, language and culture is the proper way to create the much vaunted harmonious society."

In a short interview about Pope John-Paul ll , His Holiness said that he met the new Pontiff at an ecumenical gathering in Assisi which focussed on world-wide spirituality. He said he felt very close to him as they had shared similar experiences with a communist system. Pope John-Paul ll was concerned about the value of spirituality and the problems of the materialist world, he added.

His Holiness discussed meeting Lech Walesa and said that he admired how he stuck strictly to non-violent principles.

Finally, His Holiness met some of the two dozen Tibetans living in Poland and members of various Tibet Support Groups, telling them that after nearly 55 years there is still great suffering in Tibet. He said the Tibetan spirit remains unbowed but as many Tibetans are unhappy they prefer to take their own lives rather than put up with the situation. He urged Tibetans living in free countries to be the representatives of their brothers and sisters in Tibet and to keep up the Tibetan spirit.

Looking back, he said, they have a spiritual tradition to be proud of, beginning in the 7th century with the coming of Shantarakshita and Kamalashila to Tibet. It was, though, Shantarakshila who established the teaching and began to learn Tibetan in his old age.

He stated that Tibetan Buddhism follows the pure tradition which includes deep understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. Similarly, Tibetan medical traditions attract a great deal of interest. Traditionally, he said, Buddhism was seen as the preserve of monks and nuns but he is encouraging Tibetans, Mongolians and others to think of themselves as 21st century Buddhists, learning to transform the mind and what the Buddha, Dhorma and Sangha are.

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